“Operation Condor,” the Jackie Chan actioner that Dimension Films opened nationwide July 18, was originally released in 1991 as “Armor of God II: Operation Condor” (Feiying Gaiwak) in its native Hong Kong, as well as in Japan. Originally in Cantonese with a 103-minute running time, film has been trimmed to 89 minutes, dubbed into English and supplied with new sound and music (by Stephen Endelman).
Reviewing the original in Variety on March 23, 1992, Derek Elley wrote that “Jackie Chan does the full Indiana Jones number” in “a breezy actioner that’s always watchable but doesn’t rank with the best of his work.”
Two years in the making at a cost of $15 million, which made it the most expensive Hong Kong production to that date, North African-lensed pic sees director and star Chan “hired by a Spanish baron to find 240 tons of Nazi gold buried somewhere in the Sahara and bring it back safe for the United Nations.
“Tagging along are the granddaughter (Eva Cobo de Garcia) of the German commander who’d been in charge of the gold, a feisty Chinese adviser (Carol Cheng) and a cute Japanese ethnologist (Shoko Ikeda). The first two get kidnapped by slave traders and are rescued by Chan; after wandering around the desert the quartet discovers the horde and does underground battle with the chief German nasty.
“Chan comes up with the required number of set pieces,” Elley opined. “But there’s a by-the-numbers feel to much of the action. Chan gets no byplay with Hong Kong regulars and has trouble carrying the whole movie.” In addition, “the villains are more like refugees from a Crosby & Hope ‘Road’ movie than martial arts supremos.
“Saharan scenes are good-looking, and were clearly arduous to shoot.”